Officials at Gifford Pinchot National Forest have created a non-motorized zone along the popular Monitor Ridge and Worm Flows climbing routes on the south flank of Mount St. Helens. The route is being closed to snowmobile use to improve safety for winter climbers, skiers and snowshoers.
Officials also announced that climbing permits are required for all winter recreationists that travel above 4,800 feet on the volcano. This is a change from previous policy that exempted snowmobiles from the climbing permit requirement.
Here is the rest of the news release:
"Designating a non-motorized corridor and implementing a permit system that applies to all winter recreationists above 4,800 feet regardless of mode-of-travel makes sense," said Tom Mulder, Monument Manager. "By closing the climbing route to snowmobiles we can increase safety and enhance the experience of climbers and skiers while still accommodating snowmobile use on the south side of the mountain. The permit requirement helps us track use, and when assistance is needed, the Climber’s Register helps emergency responders identify who is on the mountain," Mulder added.
Between November 1st and March 31st permits are required for all travel above 4,800 feet on Mount St. Helens and are free and available by self-registration at Marble Mountain Sno-Park and at the Climber’s Register at the Lone Fir Resort in Cougar. During the spring climbing season, April 1st to May 14th, the permits cost $22 and are available for advance purchase online. Permits for the May 15th to October 31st summer climbing season are limited to 100-climbers-per-day and will be sold on-line on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 9 a.m. PST on February 1st.